Book Review: Dragon Haven

Book Review Dragon Haven (Volume two in the Rain Wild Chronicles) by: Robin Hobb

I gave the book three out of five stars

The action in the second of the Rain Wild Chronicles picks up, and some of the various sub plots from book one are resolved.

What I enjoyed about the book:

1) The character conflicts. Hobb does an excellent job of depicting the tight ebb and flow of relationships in an on going stressful situation. The younger characters are developing into adults. They are learning about relationships, leadership, and some of life’s harder lessons. Sedric’s character arch was my favorite. I adored how funny and endearing his relationship with Repelda was as it developed.

2) The journey was wonderful. The danger depicted was intense. It plays out in tandem with the real up’s and downs of traveling so far into the unknown. It was a long journey, but Hobb’s kept the action moving.

3) The resolutions begin. This book heals many of the pain and buried secrets we learn about in book one. Finally Sedric confesses his biggest secret to Alise. The shock, tension, and long term after effects from their conflict were real and constructed beautifully.

What I did not like:

1) This had to be the longest series “introduction to book 2” I have ever read. I was skipping over paragraphs of unnecessary character introductions. Then right when I thought the book was taking off there was more. Entire paragraphs of backstory information, which I could swear, were copy and pasted right out of book one.

2) I don’t like the conflict between Sintara and Thymara. I don’t believe it. People don’t go on day after day, confined with routine intimate contact, and continue on with this unresolved tension. All of the other characters seemed to evolve in book two, why have these two not? Sintara effected a physical change, but really nothing else moved between the two of them. Why would Sintara hide the changes she was implementing on Thymara? She’s never been above bragging before? I just don’t believe these two could have so much continuous conflict, in tight quarters, needing one another to survive, but still go on without a solution.

3) Part of the plot felt preachy to me. It was like the author had constructed a whole sub plot to illustrate why pre-marital sex is bad. The timing of Billad’s lecture to the girls was inappropriate. I could not believe her character would be so insensitive since she herself was the most intimately familiar with the tragedy-taking place. I also thought the character reactions were out of character for everyone else in the scene. Was it a good idea for an older woman to school the younger girls? Certainly. Was that scene the right time and place? Never. If anything this lecture to the girls should have taken place in book one, if at all.